The Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week for same-sex marriage. This may be the most explosive issue since abortion, if not since slavery. Both sides see their opinions as self-evident; both sides cannot believe the other side is so thickheaded. Christians are certain about what they read in the bible; gays cannot fathom why their choice of a life partner is Christian’s (or the government’s) business.
I’m reminded of a story from my childhood. Like most kids, I could hardly wait for Christmas. On Christmas Eve, I would try to get my family to go to bed so Christmas would come. Christmas comes only after people are in bed, so get going! Don’t you people want Christmas to come??! My mother said, “You go to bed and Christmas will come. We don’t have to go to bed – just you.” That made NO sense to me. Sure, I can trudge off to bed but if Mom and my sister Katie are still in front of the TV, Christmas will NOT come — how could it?? She was right, of course — if I go to bed, I sleep, and the next thing I know it’s Christmas! Yet my view made sense to me because Christmas does not come while people are still up watching a movie.
How does this relate to the gay-marriage debate, you ask? Because Jesus came to the earth to offer us reconciliation with God. Period. He did not change the government or stop people’s sinning or rectify abuse of the ruling Romans, or any of the changes the Jews expected. He says, “You worry about you. Just you. Let me deal with everyone else. You get to love and embrace them. I’ll deal with their issues — and yours.” Jesus’ answer was so different, in fact, that many missed it. They completely missed His offer.
We, too, are very concerned about drawing the line on people’s behavior. While Christians are split on the sinfulness of homosexuality (and as you can see from my other posts, I do believe gay marriages is within the will of God), our response remains the same. Many Christians believe their job is to reduce sin. It is not their job. (How long have we tried to eradicate sin? How successful have we been?) Every other group in the world tries to direct behavior. Every religion, every school, every club, has agreed-upon behavior they want their adherents to follow. Not so with Jesus. Jesus entreats us to follow Him! It’s a completely different orientation.
When we follow Him, He works out our behavior. Jesus talks constantly about knowing Him and His love for us. The times He addresses actual behavior, He does so to point out how we have no hope of producing right behavior. (Why else would He ratchet up the standard so high that we cannot possibly meet it?) I have never heard Jesus tell people to try to stop others’ sin. It’s not our job. On the contrary, Paul tells us clearly that our own conscience will convict us. We keep trying to tell other people their behavior is sin instead of letting Jesus deal with them. Who’s better equipped to handle this issue — us or Jesus? I think we’ve got our hands full listening to Jesus for ourselves.